Happy Confederate Mass Transit Day!

We folks of Charlotte would like to thank y’all for sending us $600 million to build the “Lynx Light Rail” thingy and this newfangled atreetcar that reflects our Southern heritage. We ain’t real bright, but when opportunity knocks…

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17 Responses to Happy Confederate Mass Transit Day!

  1. CC1s121LrBGT says:


  2. Art Stone says:

    Future of Eastland Mall


    Rather than just auctioning off the property to the highest bidder, the “city planners” are busy spending money on feasibility studies to tie the property up in rules that will preclude any sane investor from buying it

  3. briand75 says:

    Sheesh – here is what your Kanji comes out as CC:
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  4. Art Stone says:

    It’s worth mentioning that Steetcars and Amtrak are definitely *not* green. In many cities, the streetcar systems were started by the electric companies as a way to use electricity and acquire rights of way for use in erecting high voltage transmission lines. Cars are very heavy for stability and crash protection and most do not have regenerative braking to recover at least some of the energy consumed in getting moving.

    The “green” ACS-64 electric locomotive being phased in on Amtrak NE Corridor and Keystone Corridor to Harrisburg draws 5000 kW to get the train moving and has a “sprint” mode that can draw up to 6.5 mW for a short time. Originally the PRR was powered by its own hydro plant, unconnected to the “power grid”, but the hydro power long ago became inadequate to power all the trains

    • Art Stone says:

      Here is the official government statistics. It shows the real life energy consumption per passenger mile, not the theoretical


      A more biased, but probably more accurate study

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        Those are two very interesting links. Thank you for sharing them. I would note that the single line for AMTRAK in the first link is meaningless for many reasons. One reason is that AMTRAK has many ghost trains with no riders and also has the heavily used Boston to Washington corridor. Another reason, as you had noted above, is that they have both electric and diesel locomotives.

        For all of these comparisons, it is not fair to compare these mileage numbers against the personal automobile. Almost no one lives at one train station and works at another- taking trains almost always a significant number of miles (and minutes/hours) to the trips.

        In crowded areas, a more meaningful measurement is passengers per hour – how many people cross that spot if ground. I live near a few busy highways that are very crowded going into the city in the morning and coming out at night. If I cross those roads, it is cars as far as the eye can see. When I cross the train tracks that run parallel to the road, there are only a few minutes each hour where anyone is in sight. Which is a more economic use of the right-of-way?

  5. Art Stone says:

    I don’t know if it is still there, but Galveston island had a “trolley” system that was the worst of both worlds. Most cities opt for the fake trolley buses – just a medium size gasoline or diesel powered bus wrapped in a trolley outfit.

    The biggest reason streetcar systems died is inflexibility. You are limited by the tracks. If populations shift, you have to build more tracks. If someone blocks the tracks with their car, everyone is stuck until it is moved. If there is a fire or other emergency, the streetcar can’t take a detour. Tracks are also very expensive to maintain, especially if they are buried in a street.

    The trolley in Galveston had tracks, but no electricity. Power was provided by a very loud diesel motor. It caused the normal disruption to traffic flow with no real benefit over fake trolley buses

    • Art Stone says:

      Great news!

      The Galveston trolley system was wiped out by Hurricane Ike in 2008.

      FEMA has just agreed to fund rebuilding the system


      • Art Stone says:

        Jon Bell is a very long term major streetcar fan. He came to Charlotte for the grand opening and created YouTube videos. He and I exchanged emails back in the Usenet days.

        He has a write up on the trolley in Galveston.


        He adds in the detail that the resumption of the Galveston trolley is not so much that the city wants it, but if the city officially abandons operations, they have to pay back the millions in federal money used to build it in 1988. I am unable to reconcile that 1988 date with when I rode the thing.

        • CC1s121LrBGT says:

          I live in NJ. Every day a government bus goes past my house with one passenger in it. It is a senior citizen taking advantage of free government rides for seniors.

          When my grandmother was alive and a senior citizen in PA, she told me they instead had a system where she could take any taxi and submit the receipt for most of the money to be reimbursed.

          I see it as similar to the corruption at the government’s hospitals for veterans. The leaders cooked the books to get fraudulent high performance cash bonuses for themselves while veterans suffered and some died – the veterans were not allowed to see non-government doctors.

          • Art Stone says:

            I am neither a traffic engineer nor an urban planner. Given the “two second” rule and allowing for some randomness, each lane of traffic will max out around 20 cars per minute, or 1200 cars per hour.

            Your question though is missing the forest by staring at the trees. Why are people willing to drive so many miles a day between their home and their job? How much of it is white people using their economic resources to move further and further away from the city where they work?

  6. Art Stone says:

    Someone took the hint


    Service has been suspended after the streetcar hit a stopped SUV

  7. Art Stone says:

    When changing ends, the driver on Saturday forgot to switch the controls when reversing directions


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